Considering Art Podcast – Sara Shamma, Syrian portrait painter

In our latest podcast episode, Syrian portrait artist Sara Shamma talks about how she incorporates the subconscious into her works, how she was forced to leave her country and how a deep sense of humanity pervades her pictures.

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Ishbel Myerscough – Grief, Longing and Love

There’s an underlying sense of sadness in this new exhibition by British portrait artist Ishbel Myerscough. Half way through preparing for the show, her mother died suddenly without warning. This followed the death two months earlier of her father-in-law.

There’s nothing like the death of a close parent to remind one of one’s own mortality but also to cherish what one has and holds. Grief, Longing and Love provides a series of intimate portraits of family and friends that captures stages in life’s journey from the innocence of youth through the experiences of motherhood to family bereavement.

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Henrik Uldalen – Lethe

It’s a common theme in history that reactionary groups look back to a so-called golden age, believing that society’s ills will be cured if one returned to the values of the good old days. It’s never that simple of course and the idea of a false collective memory looking at the past through a rose-tinted filter is the theme of Henrik Uldalen’s new solo exhibition, Lethe, at JD Malat Gallery.

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Pierre Gonnord – Nature Tales

To look at they could almost be paintings – portraits made in the classical style of a Goya or a van Eyck. Indeed, French photographer Pierre Gonnord cites them as influences. “A portrait obliges you to have a kind of contemplation,” he says. His first solo exhibition in the UK, Nature Tales,  gives plenty to contemplate. Comprising seven diptychs, each human portrait is paired with that of an animal. 

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WK Lyhne – Three

In her new solo exhibition, Three, British artist WK Lyhne (a Danish surname pronounced Luna) presents three paintings, each of a nude figure captured at a moment of unguarded intimacy, lying in bed among rumpled sheets and blankets.

These oil paintings, done from life, mark a significant departure from the artist’s previous works. These would often comprise provocative images of slaughtered animals dripping blood or large-scale defiant figures in sexually charged explicit poses. They might not have appealed to the prudish or those with a weak stomach, but they took a hefty swipe at female objectification. 

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Tai Shan Schierenberg – Men Without Women

Many will know Tai Shan Schierenberg as one of the judges in the Sky Arts series Portrait Artist of the Year and Landscape Artist of the Year. He specialises in both art forms and is a former winner of the National Portrait Gallery’s John Player Portrait Award. Lesser known is his love of football. Last year, he travelled up from his London home to the West Midlands every weekend to follow the fortunes of West Bromwich Albion Football Club for a Channel 4 Artist in Residence series. 

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Sara Shamma – Modern Slavery

When Syrian artist Sara Shamma heard eyewitness reports of Yazidi women and girls being paraded on a platform by their Isis kidnappers in a modern slave market on the Iraqi/Syrian border before hundreds of glowering men, and then sold to the highest bidder, she was naturally shocked. Their prices, she discovered, were even advertised on the internet – the youngest being the most expensive.

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